Minutemen’s xenophobic take on human nature

Daily Sundial

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The media-hyped Minuteman Project, instead of promoting good immigration policy, is displaying to the world the intolerance and lack of compassion of some of our countries’ citizens.

The Minuteman Project is a volunteer group of over 600 Americans patrolling a 20-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexican border. They are protesting the fact that this Arizona border is not heavily guarded, and are attempting to curtail illegal immigration. Minutemen claim they will to do this for the entire month of April to campaign against President Bush’s policies, which they say do not do enough to seal off the border.

They emphasize what they call the negative impact illegal immigration has on our country’s economy, environment and resources.

However, the Minutemen are doing far more than staging a peaceful protest and attracting the attention of international media. They are creating an environment of fear, taking the law into their own hands, exhibiting xenophobia, racism and sexism, and insensitivity to those who cross the desert every day.

First of all, some of the people who have volunteered to prevent the “invasion” of illegal immigrants have no jobs themselves, but are trying to keep out people who are actually willing to work in this country. Most immigrants from Latin America come here and take the low-paying, low-status jobs that many U.S. citizens are not willing to take, such as field and house work.

The extremist Minutemen carry guns to defend themselves, since they may in fact be engaging in dangerous activity in the territory of ruthless human and drug smugglers. The clash of angry, frustrated Americans with guns and gun-toting smugglers is a disaster waiting to happen. Why the Minutemen would want to endanger their lives just to display their misdirected anger is a mystery to me.

When people take the law into their own hands, especially when defending themselves using deadly weapons, someone is bound to get hurt. Even the Border Patrol has stated they are worried a gun will go off, and President Bush has denounced their project, saying he is “against vigilantes in the United States.”

The United States is a democratic country in which the people vote for elected officials, who in turn provide police and military to enforce laws and protect people’s rights. For a group of people to decide they are going to surpass all of this and instead do what they feel is right violates everyone else’s constitutional rights.

Furthermore, the Minutemen claim not to be racist, but what else is it called when groups of Caucasians form an armed barrier to block Mexicans from entering the country? How can they claim not to be xenophobic when they are angry for having to see immigrants in their stores and restaurants? And how sexist is it to have a name for a group called “Minutemen,” in this day and age, completely disregarding the fact that many women are involved as well? Women posting blogs on the Internet describing their involvement in Arizona even refer to themselves as “Minutewomen,” obviously aware that the chauvinist name ignores their involvement.

The problems with immigration are much more complex than the Minutemen are willing to acknowledge, and the solutions available much more reasonable than citizens with guns.

One solution to these problems is reforming foreign immigration policy. Seeking this reform can be done in a democratic way.

Minutemen do not treat people from other countries, or those whose families are from other countries, with dignity or respect. Those opposed to the Minutemen simply see people, even illegal immigrants, as human beings. Immigrants risk their lives and spend their life savings to come to the United States seeking a better life, money to support their families, and the ability to rejoin family members and loved ones. Ignoring these facts can offer no solution to the problem.